Marianne Vos takes yellow jersey with Tour de France Femmes stage two breakaway victory: 'It's not a revenge, it's just beautiful'

Vos finished first in a six-rider breakaway sprint, the legendary Dutchwoman too powerful in the closing stages

Marianne Vos Tour de France Femmes
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma) asserted her dominance on stage two of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, as she sprinted from the break to take the victory

Multiple crashes in the peloton caused the bunch to reduce for the final 30km of the race, before Vos, Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo), Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM), Silvia Persico (Valcar-Travel & Service) and Maike van der Duin (Le Col-Wahoo) broke in the final 20km of the stage. Their lead grew to 40 seconds as they entered the last 4km, the time gap failing to come down. 

Balsamo led the six riders with a quick tempo, aiming to drag along her teammate Longo Borghini for the likely final sprint. Team DSM worked hard at the front of the peloton, eager to get the yellow jersey of Lorena Wiebes back into contention, but their efforts were ultimately in vain. 

As the six-rider break crossed the flamme rouge, Longo Borghini launched off of Balsamo's wheel up the five per cent incline. Van der Duin struggled to hold on, before Niewiadoma started leading the group to the line. 

Towards the final 300m, though, Marianne Vos launched her sprint. Ultimately, she proved too strong as she powered away from break, crossing the line with a comfortable gap to take the stage win. The win also ensures she will wear the yellow jersey for stage three. 

After crossing the finish line, Vos seemed overcome with emotion. On stage one, Lorena Wiebes outmanoeuvred her to triumph on the Champs-Élysées. However, for Vos, her stage two victory is simply a momentous result for her. 

"It's not a revenge, it's just beautiful," said Vos.

HOW IT HAPPENED

After an historic opening stage in Paris, which saw Lorena Wiebes (Team DSM) take the win on the Champs-Élysées, stage two offered a similar parcours: A largely flat 136km ride from Meaux to Provins.

Wiebes came in wearing the yellow jersey, and thus had a target on her back from the off. 

The stage started with multiple attacks in the peloton, with Femke Gerritse (Parkhotel Valkenburg) Rotem Gafinovitz (Roland Cogeas Edelweiss Squad), Marit Raaijmakers (Human Powered Health) and Sabrina Stutiens (Liv Racing Xstra) creating the day’s first breakaway, on the approach to the category four Côte de Tigeaux climb. 

Gerritse summited the climb first, with the break opening up a gap of two minutes to the peloton. Team DSM started to work at the front of the bunch, though, eager to get the yellow jersey closer to the front riders. The pace set in the peloton caused multiple riders to fall out the back, but the breakaway maintained their lead until 80km remained on the stage, when they were caught. 

Team DSM - with Wiebes operating proceedings - headed up the peloton, with Movistar, Jumbo-Visma and Liv Racing Xstra waiting in position behind over the intervening kilometres. Teams took it in turns on the front of the bunch, but no attacks were forthcoming during the largely pan-flat section of stage two. 

Multiple crashes caused the stage to come to life, though, with Soraya Paladin (Canyon//SRAM Racing), Urša  Pintar (UAE Team ADQ), Natalie Grinczer (Stade Rochelais Charente-Maritime) and Ally Wollaston (AG Insurance-NXTG) all coming together. From there, Maike van der Duin (Le Col-Wahoo) attacked, sensing an opportunity to steal an advantage amid the chaos. 

Among the other crashes included Marlen Reusser (SD Worx) and Marta Cavalli (FDJ-SUEZ-Futuroscope). Unfortunately, this ended the Italian's race earlier, as she withdrew from the rest of the Tour. 

Meanwhile, Van der Duin won the intermediate sprint with 20km remaining, as she continued to attack solo. World champion Elisa Balsamo (Trek-Segafredo) continued to drive the peloton on, though, and soon a gap opened up for herself, Marianne Vos (Jumbo-Visma), Elisa Longo Borghini (Trek-Segafredo), Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Canyon//SRAM) and Silvia Persico (Valcar-Travel & Service) to bridge across.

The six-rider break continued to extend their advantage over the remaining kilometres, despite the peloton's best efforts. Annemiek van Vleuten (Movistar) and Demi Vollering (SD Worx) both tried pulling the bunch along, but to no avail. The break crossed the flamme rouge with a 40 second lead, with Balsamo pulling the riders along. 

The Italian soon dropped away, her work in getting Longo Borghini into position complete. The Trek-Segafredo rider attacked at this point, which seemed a little ambitious considering there was still 800m remaining. Van der Duin couldn't match the pace, but soon caught up, meaning five riders were together heading into the final 400m,

However, it was here where Vos asserted her dominance on the race, as she took control of the sprint. The Dutchwoman powered away from the other riders, opening up multiple bike lengths towards the line. Her win means she will wear the yellow jersey for stage three, as Wiebes could only come home 29 seconds later.

Persico finished second, while Niewiadoma came third. 

RESULT TOUR DE FRANCE FEMMES AVEC ZWIFT 2022, STAGE TWO: MEAUX TO PROVINS (136.4KM) 

1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, in 3-14-02
2. Silvia Persico (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service, at same time
3. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon//SRAM
4. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
5. Maike van der Duin (Ned) Le Col-Wahoo, at 12s
6. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) Team DSM, at 29s
7. Julie De Wilde (Bel) Plantur-Pura, at same time
8. Rachele Barbieri (Ita) Liv Racing Xstra
9. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) SD Worx
10. Maria Giulia Confalonieri (Ita) Ceratizit-WNT Pro Cycling

 GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER STAGE TWO 

1. Marianne Vos (Ned) Jumbo-Visma, in 5-07-46
2. Silvia Persico (Ita) Valcar-Travel & Service, at 10s
3. Katarzyna Niewiadoma (Pol) Canyon//SRAM, at 12s
4. Elisa Longo Borghini (Ita) Trek-Segafredo, at 18s
5. Maike van der Duin (Ned) Le Col-Wahoo, at 28s
6. Lorena Wiebes (Ned) Team DSM, at 35s
7. Lotte Kopecky (Bel) SD Worx, at 41s
8. Rachele Barbieri (Ita) Liv Racing Xstra, at 45s
9. Julie De Wilde (Bel) Plantur-Pura, at same time
10. Demi Vollering (Ned) SD Worx, at same time

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Staff Writer

Ryan is a staff writer for Cycling Weekly, having joined the team in September 2021. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before making his way to cycling. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer.